October 9, 2014 at 8:00 am EST | by Peter Rosenstein
Be sure to vote for Democrats on Nov. 4
Democratic Party, Democratic National Convention, DNC, Charlotte, North Carolina, gay news, Washington Blade

2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

On Tuesday, Nov. 4, the people of the United States will make some big decisions. Early voting in D.C. begins on Oct. 20. In recent years we have seen fewer people take advantage of what so many in the past both here and around the world have thought enough of to give their lives for: the right to vote.

In the United States, many now take it so for granted they no longer see it as a responsibility of citizenship and just don’t bother. There are those who do understand the value of a vote and will stand in line for hours to do so, but usually only in presidential election years.

Pundits give many reasons for low turnouts in primaries and what we call off-year elections — a term that makes no sense because no election should be considered off-year. The Republican Party must assume part of the blame because it works to make voting more difficult. Some in the GOP believe accurately that the more people they can keep from voting the better it is for them. The people they actively work to disenfranchise, minorities and the poor, will most often reject their candidates.

Whether it’s the mayoral election in D.C. or elections for the United States Senate in Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Iowa or Alaska, it is generally acknowledged the bigger the turnout the better for Democrats. That truth makes a statement as to what the majority of people in the United States believe. When Democrats win we have more chance to advance immigration reform, women’s rights, ENDA, protections for union workers and raising the minimum wage. Democrats support the Affordable Healthcare Act and guaranteeing women equal pay for equal work.

Not every local official elected will directly impact these issues. But if we elect Democratic mayors, governors and state legislators as a nation we are saying we want a more progressive and fair society. We will have the opportunity to make our government more responsive to those in need.

I admit proudly to being a biased and unrepentant progressive Democrat. I have been since my first Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City in 1964 at which Lyndon Johnson was nominated, to the convention that nominated Barack Obama in 2008; and look forward to the one in 2016 at which I hope we will nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Some suggest a career in government and the non-profit sector has skewed my outlook. While denying that, admittedly it has left me with little patience for those who feel entitled to hold on to every nickel they make insisting that at whatever rate they are taxed it is too much. It has left me with little patience for those who support a war but don’t want to pay for it and little patience for those who won’t accept that government must pay for a great public education for all.

The political spectrum in the United States runs from the far right to the far left and neither will accomplish what is needed to move our nation forward.  The majority of voters show themselves to be moderates who don’t agree with the political dogma at either end of the spectrum. This becomes clear when electing a president and even true in most cases when voting for members of Congress. But as we have seen when ideologues do get elected they don’t need large numbers to stalemate the government. Congress today is a prime example of that.

So as we near these mid-term elections, voters can make a statement. Electing Democrats up and down the ticket will, among other things, keep the current right-wing controlled Republican Party from claiming the progressive movement is dead. Voters can make this statement across the nation by electing John Foust in Virginia’s 10th, and Seth Moulton in Massachusetts’s 6th to the House of Representatives. The can re-elect Jeanne Shaheen to the Senate from New Hampshire and senators Mark Udall in Colorado and Tom Udall in New Mexico. They can make their statement by electing Muriel Bowser, endorsed by President Obama, as mayor of the nation’s capital; electing Mary Burke governor of Wisconsin; Eric Lesser to the state Senate in Massachusetts and Jon Hoadley to the state legislature in Michigan.

Together these and other Democratic candidates will make a difference as we continue the fight for full equality and fairness for all across the nation.

  • “Be sure to vote for Democrats on Nov. 4”

    …That is, unless another candidate has a much better and much longer record of proactive LGBT civil rights accomplishment. But David Catania, hands down, also has the greater experience and proven competence to be DC’s mayor, than the Democratic Party candidate.
    The poor turnout in last April’s Democratic Party primary proved how disappointed DC Democrats have become in their party’s mayoral candidates. I believe that the idea of voting for yet even more cronyism over competence, simply turned Dem voters off.
    So, like tens of thousands of other DC Democrats, this Democrat is voting for a progressive independent, David Catania for Mayor.
    LGBTs throughout DC know David Catania well. David has always been the real deal. David has fought for our rights through thick and thin — with the unconditional commitment and passion only a LGBT could bring to that historic endeavor.
    David has long stood by us. It is time for us to stand by David.

  • That all depends on which Gays you ask! That primary was one thing Nov 4 is another. LGTBQ ISSUES are not all that matters to all gay people. Gentrification is destroying DC and lately as I have been reading other online pubs, mainly the city paper when I see articles from Will Sommer the comment section when it comes to Black voters and Muriel Bowser are downright offensive. While David has credibility no questioning that who says Muriel couldn’t govern the city? This isn’t an entitlement position for neither one. But some supporters of Catania more and more are seeming to feel like it’s time WE TAKE OVER making comments talking about voters in Wards 7&8 and calling Democrats Dumbocrats? Then because President Obama gave an endorsement to Bowser. Mary Cheh questions the endorsement from Obama? WTF? If she likes David then just go ahead and support David. Black voters see this and it makes many feel UNCOMFORTABLE. It’s becoming a case of The Haves and The Have nots in this city! When it comes to LGBTQ issues Catania should be in front after all he is Gay! Many of his supporters are truly turning me off. And I wasn’t necessarily a Muriel fan, but also I haven’t seen anything bad she’s done. I’m still sorting is all out but At this point I’m nowhere near being a Catania supporter!

  • I agree with Mr. Rosenstein that in federal elections, members of the Democratic party are more disposed to advance reforms in areas such as immigration, women’s rights, ENDA, protections for union workers and raising the minimum wage. Most but (not all) Democrats support the Affordable Healthcare Act and guaranteeing women equal pay for equal work. However, his argument falls apart when he throws the DC Mayoral race into the mix. To suggest that any of the above would only advance In DC under Bowser and would suffer under Catania is intellectually dishonest and disingenuous.

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